Delegate Bob Marshall

VA Lawmakers Renew Ebola Quarantine Request

Two colleagues and I sent a second letter to our Governor regarding his inaction in imposing quarantine measures at Dulles Airport and at the Port of Virginia. There are five US Airports which accept commercial passengers whose travel originates in Ebola affected areas of West Africa.  On Friday, the Governors of two states with two of those airports did impose quarantine policies.  The Governor of Illinois did so on Saturday.  That leaves Georgia and Virginia with "open borders" and no quarantine measures to protect the public from Ebola.

Because Barack Obama is not issuing travel bans on commercial flights with passengers originating from Ebola affected areas, quarantine measures are the only tool states have to impose on arriving passengers.

Only the United States and four West African nations have reported Ebola (Mali has one case.) Just think for a moment.  If Barack Obama had issued a temporary travel ban from Sierra Leone, New Guinea and Liberia as numerous African nations have done to protect themselves from Ebola, unreliable self-reporting of Ebola risk would be replaced by reviewing passports which show which countries have been visited.

Had that happened, the United States would not have to equip every emergency room nurse with hazmat suits, would not have to decontaminate apartments, businesses, ambulances and airplanes, would not have to enforce mandatory quarantine of patients, would not have to fly Ebola-infected patients to the CDC in Atlanta or the NIH in Bethesda, would not have to set up Ebola-designated hospitals which make these facilities less attractive for patients suffering from other ailments, would not have to hire fever screeners for airports, would not be incurring increased health care costs by having to divert personnel and resources to do contact tracing, would not have caused unneeded stress to the general population over a disease that has no cure and an extremely high death rate, and nurses who are on the front lines of medical care would not be at risk of treating potential Ebola-infected patients.

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VA Lawmakers Seek Ebola Travel Bans

In light of a reported thirteen African nations which have banned travel from Ebola prevalent areas to their countries, and reports of airlines which have suspended commercial flights to such areas, Delegate Robert G. "Bob" Marshall (R-13), Senator Richard Black (R-13) and Delegate Mark Berg, MD (R-29) sent a letter (see attached) urging Governor Terry McAuliffe to seek similar bans for Virginia's airports and seaports.

The lawmakers wrote Governor McAuliffe:
"We strongly urge you to use the police powers of Virginia to protect our citizens and residents from exposure to Ebola even if it means a timely court challenge against passenger airlines or the federal government if they continue to permit entry into Virginia of passengers flying from Ebola affected areas.  We also ask you to take similar measures to protect our seaports.   Indeed, Government travel restrictions were used to limit Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)."
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House of Delegates Page Program Application Period Now Open!

  If you know a 13 or 14 year old who might be interested in becoming a House of Delegates page now is the time to apply!  Applications for the 2014 House of Delegates Page Program are now being taken by the Speaker's office and must be received by no later than October 28, 2013.  If you or someone you know is interested in this program, please have them check out the website here for more information!  For the first time this year applications can be accepted online .  You must receive a letter of endorsement from your delegate to apply so if you reside in the 13th district please contact me at delbmarshall@house.virginia.gov.

Marshall Drafts Tougher Gift Disclosure Legislation

Delegate Bob Marshall has requested legislation be drawn up to significantly strengthen the reporting requirement for gifts to Virginia public officials and state employees. The changes to state law which he has proposed include:

Reporting any gift of $100 or more from a company or individual with business before the state of Virginia to any adult family member of an elected official or covered state employee, their spouse or legal dependent as well as a person cohabiting with a family member of an elected official or covered employee;

A gift not required to be initially reported because it was not made by someone with business before the state, would be required to be reported later if the donor subsequently had business before the state of Virginia where the gift was received within twelve months of such individual or company having business before the state;

Any gift received by a member during the regular session of the General Assembly exceeding $100 would have to be reported within five working days of receipt the gift.

“Virginia’s present law covering such gifts is vague and does not currently require that gifts to family members be reported by elected officials. The recent media disclosures regarding the extent, the number and the size of such gifts made available to family members of elected officials now requires a thorough revaluation of the present law,” Marshall said.

Marshall added, “We need a starting point for serious and prudent discussion that allows the legislature and other state officials to discharge their duties without causing any public concern that decisions or policies adopted by the legislature or actions taken by the Executive are made for any reason other than securing the common good.”

Delegate Marshall previously authored HJR 31 (2002) a Conflicts of Interest Study for state & local government which produced recommendations for legislation later adopted providing for stricter conflict of interest standards for officials & zoning boards (HB 1546, 2003). Del. Marshall has authored other laws tightening disclosure requirements and prohibitions of participation in land use decisions which did not pass.